By now, you've already read the game summary in the newspaper or online so here are some insights from Saturday night's unbelievable game.
$$ I suppose the best way to describe the last couple weeks
of the 4A boy's high school basketball season would be to compare it with
McClintock, being the pre-season and season long #1 ranked
team, was always in the direct path of Mother Nature and the Chargers
endured a series of tough storms.
McClintock was a fortress of
strength engineered to withstand the fiercest weather fronts. They had
the speed, strength, and athleticism to seemingly escape almost any kind of
‘Tock had a stretch of very tough opponents
down the season's stretch in Greenway, Sunnyslope, Independence, and Shadow
Mountain who took their best shots at the Chargers. The enemy brought
tornado like winds, gully-washing downpours, unbearable heat, and frigid ice
storms but McClintock survived them all.
It finally became very
apparent it would take only a perfect storm to wash the Chargers away from a
Saturday night, without warning from the National
Weather Service, the "Perfect Storm" did arrive over downtown Phoenix.
It came out of nowhere and blew away the Chargers' dream.
$$ The 4A title game was a war of wills and the Sabercats prevailed.
‘Cat stood out big time. Saguaro would've never won the game had it not been for C.J. Venezia's 4th period superman performance. Venezia went toe-to-toe with Jermaine Calvin in a two-minute scoring fest that will certainly go down as one of the most exciting in championship game
Charger star forward Gabe Freeman had been hogtied by Saguaro's
defense and Calvin decided he had to take control. Calvin knew his
team needed points and needed them fast to steal the momentum, as McClintock
has repeatedly been known to do.
In the past seven games I've watched
McClintock, either Calvin or Freeman would step up and take control of the
game. No team or player has been able to answer these uprisings, until
What Venezia did was nothing short of superhuman. His
will to win reverberated throughout the vast arena and you could feel the
energy to your core. It was a feeling I'll never
Venezia's determination and acrobatic drives to the bucket were
amazing beyond all description. That two-minute effort has instantly
thrust him on to the stage with all the other AZ elite point
$$ Conspicuously absent from the Charger's lineup the last
two games was Leonard Lighten. The swingman had been a season long starter
for ‘Tock and allowed for the team to use its depth in a very advantageous
With Lighten absent, McClintock was forced to start Terrance Cobb, a
player significantly shorter than Lighten.
This eventually filtered
on down to where Rudy Fleming, a football player, was on the floor in the
final minute and ended up missing a flat-footed,
8-foot shot from the left
baseline at 36 seconds. A made shot would've given the Chargers a
Does anyone know where Lighten went?
Saguaro's big three of Danny O'Boyle, Justin Ashbaugh, and Derek Tarapacki
have felt the pain of losing at America West before and so were sentimental
favorites in my mind. I wanted to see them do well and they rewarded.
All hit numerous clutch buckets over the championship
weekend and showed such tremendous senior leadership they'll never be
forgotten by the Sabercat nation.
Ashbaugh's dunk at the end of the
game punctuated a spectacular end to their high school
$$ Even though James Watson, A.J. Beban, and Dax Sikes
didn't show up big in the box score, they played very significant roles in
the Sabercat win. Watson is only a sophomore so he gets another crack
at a title. Beban and Sikes are seniors and go out
$$ I don't know if I really believe in ghosts or not, but
McClintock is surely jinxed. I surmise this curse has arisen from the
alleged recruiting and transfer improprieties that originated in the early
80's at McClintock.
If the Charger athletic department didn't actually
recruit, then they certainly encouraged and fostered a welcome environment
for transferring star athletes.
Many a big name player has found a
home in Charger Land over the years, outside his natural school
boundaries. This is no secret.
Since this practice was instituted,
the Chargers have failed to win a championship of any magnitude. In
recent years, early playoff exits became the norm, even though ‘Tock had
That's why I knew McClintock wouldn't win the
championship this season either. I've been following the team the past
three weeks waiting for the meltdown.
Brian Fleming did an
outstanding job this season as coach. His players played hard for
But I compare the Charger team to the Chicago Cubs. No amount
of outstanding players or great coaches can overcome ghosts or evil
spirits. Once you're jinxed, you're jinxed.
If ghosts do exist,
then the "Ghosts of Tockdom" waited until the cruelest moment to appear this
season, right at the end of the championship game. It's also no
coincidence that today is February 29th, a leap year………..and a favorite day
for evil spirits to
9 13 16 16 --
15 12 21 -- 62
SAGUARO - C.J. Venezio 18,
Justin Ashbaugh 18, Justin O'Boyle 13, James Watson 5, Derek Tarapacki 4,
A.J. Beban 2, Dax Sikes 2
MCCLINTOCK - Jermaine Calvin 21, Gabe Freeman 19,
Marcus Nicholson 8, Rudy Fleming 3, Javier Estrada 2, Terrance Cobb 1
4A Title Game Comments
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